Ignition Fitness

Published Feb 5, 2013 « Back

Why Alcohol is Fattening


We are all aware that alcohol isn't good for us, but do we really know why? The majority of peoples reasoning behind this is "it's bad for your liver", or "its empty calories". These are true reasons. However, here i'm going to tell you why alcohol is fattening and how your body uses it.

Most people drink on occasions. Some every night, some just weekends and some once in a blue moon. Alcohol makes you fat, damaging the organs, the skin and your general appearance. 

Many people are surprised to here that alcohol doesn't actually contain fat. When alcohol is consumed the liver will break the alcohol down into sugar. The worst most damaging food source for your body. It is the sugar that makes us fat!


Fat and Acetate 


Going into a litter further detail; when alcohol is consumed it is broken down into two compounds - fat and acetate. Firstly lets look at the fat. The fat is taken through the bloodstream and is generally stored wherever your body tends to store its fat. Most commonly the stomach or love handles. Acetate is too taken through the bloodstream and used as an immediate source of energy. No matter what you're consuming with your alcohol there is no getting away from it. As you keep sipping away, drink after drink your 'stock' becomes full. This means any excess intake gets turned into fat and stored in those areas where you carry the most weight. As a result of your 'stock' becoming full, neither carbs or fat will be burnt for any activities requiring energy. Only the alcohol sugar will be! With alcohol being 7kcals a gram it is a high calorie builder compared to protein which is just 4kcals a gram. 


Alcohol doesn't just stop at fuelling your body with sugar. It also raises cortisol levels - a stress hormone. Cortisol promotes fat storage around the waistline and starts to break down muscle, whilst lowering testosterone/oestrogen levels. This slows the bodies recovery rate.


Alcohol and Food


Many of us fancy a nice drink before and with a meal. What we don't understand is that this will increase our appetite, therefore leaving our bodies to crave more food. Especially carb based foods. The sharp increase in calories causes your blood sugars to spike, leaving your body craving more sugar and carbs. This is bad for two reasons, the first being that the acetate is the only energy source being used. Secondly eating fatty carb based foods with alcohol such as; crisps, nuts, takeaways etc is the quickest way for your body to store fat. With your blood sugar levels raising along with insulin (storage hormone), all these fatty foods go into your bloodstream and into your fat stores.


We all know alcohol isn't the best for you whatever fitness goal you're trying to reach. The purpose of this short blog/alcohol isn't to make you stop drinking all together. I just wanted to tell you what alcohol does to your body and why it's fattening. Its up to you what you do with this information and how you change your drinking habits. A lot of us don't realise how much we drink, I suggest keeping an alcoholic diary and writing down every drink you consume. This way you can see how much you really consume, which might be the eye opener you need.


Happy drinking! Eat smart.